Riotous Basement Scenes of Painted Demons and Deities

The detritus is far from organized in ‘Basement Odyssey.’
03 December 2016, 12:50pmUpdated on 04 December 2016, 11:02pm
The Green Room. All images courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection

A few familiar faces haunt a sickly green room. Jesus sits on the couch next to a ghoulish Grim Reaper, as they both placidly watch TV, lounging next to a casually-leaning scythe. These are some of the seemingly significant paraphernalia filling one of Willem Weismann’s hectic paintings, which range from bursting internal scenes to crowded outdoor spaces. Titled Basement Odyssey, Weismann’s latest series of paintings are imbued with thick, purposeful strokes, which form his collection’s in-motion visuals. The artist’s dynamic point-of-view resonates in each of his lively renderings of cluttered locales. He mentions Orson Welles’ expansive filming techniques, referencing scenes in movies like _Touch of Evil _as inspiration.

The message behind the disarray translates to the artist’s consideration of his own contributions, while simultaneously trying to scale the daily output of creative work. In a discussion with Artfridge, Weismann speaks about his personal struggle to retain as much information as possible: “To me, personally, it also presents the overwhelming experience of browsing through YouTube, Wikipedia and Google and perhaps the impossibility of remembering all one’s own experiences in life. There’s just so much knowledge and material in the world, it seems increasingly difficult to separate facts from fiction, and as a painter, I’m only adding to this pile.”

Weismann speaks a little about the concept of chaos in the official show description: “I think it’s fascinating how we are continuously walking on top of the entire history of the world. As if you could go back to the beginning of time if you just keep digging. For me, this thought refers to the chaos or mess that is hidden underneath the relatively smooth surface of our pavements and lawns.”

Wretched Excess, 2016

Wretched Excess, detail view

Wretched Excess, detail view

Library Looting, 2015

See more from Willem Weismann on his Instagram and on his website, here. Basement Odyssey shows at the Zabludowicz Collection’s gallery in London from November 10–December 18, 2016. Find more information on the exhibit, here.


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